9 Best Things to Do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most recommended countries to travel in Central America. Sandy beaches, tropical rainforest, quaint village towns or colorful cities with cultural history pile up to make a bucket list of enriching holiday destinations. It is a pipe dream to find out a destination encompassing all the elements of the bucket list. But wait, have you thought of considering traveling to Costa Rica yet?

If not, the country with 12 distinct climate zones is a treasure trove of adrenaline rush and offers many different obscure experiences. Costa Rica blankets lush, tropical rainforest and you will find adventure around every corner of the country. It is the haven for outdoor activities and adventure lover.

If you are an eco-savvy traveler, this destination is in your prime radar. Do not worry you less adventurous folks, the enchanting hot springs, and beaches of Costa Rica would surely lure you. Pristine beaches, a plethora of wildlife, canopy tour, Costa Rica surely offers an array of breathtaking views.

Lets soak ourselves into this verdant country with miles of coastline and explore the Costa Rica adventures. First thing first, Costa Rica is located in Central America with a population of only 5 million. People out there are Spanish speaking but quite friendly and welcoming.

As having a tropical climate, the temperature is mild around the year, but you can always prefer visiting this place from mid-December to mid-April. If you prefer a little quieter, try June and July.

There is not a typical way to stay in Costa Rica. There are endless. You can stay at all luxury in 5 star resorts or in small charming inns or on a ranch or farm or in a wooden hut in the treetop hotel in the middle of a forest.

The weather is always beautiful somewhere in Costa Rica. The country has several microclimates, from its tropical jungles to its mountaintop cloud forests to its dry northwest. So rather than worrying about a rainy season, look for the time of year that is optimal for the type of activities you want to do.

If you are a family of adventurous travelers, Costa Rica is a place where you and your family will have the best time. It is a country that contains up to 6 per cent of the world's biodiversity. Costa Rica is the best mix of all the animals and ecosystems and that makes them the perfect place for people of all ages.

Irrespective of the order, below is the list of some hidden places in Costa Rica. My dear wanderlust friend, fasten up the seat belt and lets get going.

1. Hiking in Manuel Antonio National Park

If you are a family who loves animals, there are 28 national parks that have quite a few money species, sloths, interesting birds like toucans and sloths. They are all children friendly trails so there is no need to worry about that. There are also zip-lines that will allow you to get a bit closer to the animals along with a great adrenaline rush.

Some parks even have beaches like the Manuel Antonio National Park where you can relax after a day full of exploring.

Isn't it amazing to get along with the locals and know the place better? The green heart of Costa Rica offers an unlimited high adrenaline rush with adventurous activities like surfing, rappelling, rafting and more. Do not blink your eyes, otherwise, you may miss upon some of the rarest wildlife, birds and medicinal plants. The aww struck view lies in the beauty of a massive waterfall in a hidden cave!

The Manuel Antonio National Park is a good choice for children, with well marked trails, abundant wildlife and a jungle that leads to a beautiful beach. You can see toucans, sloths, turtles, the green frog with red eyes or the fascinating quetzal. The Pacuare River is considered by the National Geographic magazine as one of the best rivers in the world for rafting.

In fact, you can choose between Manuel Antonio or the Guanacaste area. Manuel Antonio has beautiful sandy beaches to rest while the children are entertained watching the monkeys in freedom jumping from branch to branch. In contrast, Guanacaste predominates the largest and most complete resorts with all kinds of amenities and activities for the family.

2. Hot springs in Alajuela

This is the best place to unwind yourself and relax. The famous hot springs have water heated from the volcanic rock undergrounds. You can plan to visit the hot spring in Arenal Volcano which has some jaw-dropping views of the volcano. You would be surprised to know that the water is infused with many minerals with a varying temperature from 80 to 105 degrees.

Redeem yourself after hiking and tromping around with a mud massage along with a cocktail drink at the hot spring resorts in Baldi and Tabacon.

3. Rainforests in Corcovado National Park

Costa Rica is all about rainforests. You have a zip line, yoga centers, wildlife and more. If you are making it to any of them, you are probably missing out on visiting the gem of the country. You will regret a big time surely. It doesn't matter whether it is day or night! This place has something to offer any time of the day. The day time offers wildlife galore, gentle streams, howler monkeys, three-toed sloths and much more.

But the night offers you with the most tranquil views. You can have a view of some of the nocturnal species during the night walk. You can plan up a trip to Corcovado National Park of Monteverde cloud forest reserve to get the best view.

Cruise the seas to watch whales on the coast of the Osa Peninsula, or chase butterflies in the La Paz waterfall. Absolutely beautiful place, but one thing makes it stand out above all others. Where else can you feed toucans while they are sitting your shoulder? In a country of high adrenaline activities, this will be the one thing that stands out in your memory once you are back home.

There are so many adventurous things to do like surfing, kayaking and relaxing in the natural hot springs. The most popular activity is scuba diving off the Caño Island that is located a short half an hour boat ride off the amazing Osa Peninsula.

4. Volcano in Arenal

Costa Rica has several volcanoes that can be visited in its mountainous interior. But the one you can not miss is the Arenal, which stands out majestically among a sea of clouds. It is a zone very rich in thermal waters, has a huge lake, waterfalls and enough activities.

It is the most visited and traveled attraction in Costa Rica. We are sure you will some of the most amazing stories to share with your friends. Being a part of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire, Costa Rica has a wealth of volcanoes. Many of the volcanoes are dormant but there are chances of them awakening.

You can literally climb over some popular attractions and massive craters. The beautiful glimpse of Arenal is the most breathtaking view ever. Surprisingly the volcano is active and unpredictable. Most of the time the place is cloudy but if it opens, you can see lava tendrils pouring down the cone. The base of Arenal has some geothermal natural springs which can turn your tiresome day into an awesome one.

5. Zipline in Monteverde

The Zipline through the forest guarantees thrills and spills as you fly. Once a lifetime experience is zip lining out yourself over a 200' waterfall and ending up facing four smaller 60 to 0-foot waterfalls. Above this, we are sure you would have seen zip lines before but zipping over the rainforest and having the view of monkeys and birds is really new.

This is quite thrilling, as you get to see everything from the air through the rainforest canopy. An amazing fact is Zip lines were incepted in Costa Rica. It was an accidental outcome back in the 1970s while studying forest canopy. Costa Rica offers numerous opportunities to immerse yourself in wildlife, either by snorkeling to see fish in the small natural pools at low tide or observing monkeys and toucans from the hanging bridges of the cloud forest of Monteverde.

6. Surfing in Tamrindo

How about catching up some waves and relaxing later. Costa Rica is a home to many surfers who train even novice for getting into the sea and getting tanned. Needless to mention why Costa Rica got featured in the movie Endless Summer for its offshore winds, perennial dry season. So why not learn your first lesson in the mecca of surfing itself? Grab your paddleboard and start going. Get yourself a beach house in Marbella, Playas or Ostional.

In the North Pacific zone it is advisable to go surfing to Tamrindo beach in the northern province of Guanacaste. It is also ideal for beginners.

In Costa Rica, you will also find other beautiful places to discover the beauties of the Caribbean Sea, such as Playas del Coco, Playa Tambor, Hermosa or Cahuita. In the province of Limón and bathed by the Caribbean Sea is the small town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Not long ago this was a very quiet fishing village but when the surfers discovered their waves and the travelers their beaches there was no going back!

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small town that has grown to the rhythm of tourists and today is a spa with all the amenities and services where the protagonists are the beaches and, of course, its proximity to the Cahuita National Park. Its charm lies in the mix of indigenous, Latin and Afro-Caribbean Bribri cultures and the rhythm and relaxed atmosphere of its streets.

At the rhythm of reggae you can walk the few blocks of the town, stop to take a Pilsen in one of the many bars, taste the local cuisine or buy some of the crafts. On the Caribbean coast, Punta Uva near Puerto Viejo is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica or Tambor beach, in the Nicoya Peninsula.

7. Visit a coffee plantation near San José

Among the things to do in Costa Rica, you can visit a coffee plantation in the highlands of the Central Valley, near San José. You can see how it has grown and how coffee is somehow the story of Costa Rica. Do not buy the souvenir coffee at the airport. You have to go through a market if you want good quality.

8. Guayabo National Monument

Located in Turrialba, Guayabo archeological site was inhabited from 1000 BCE to about a century before the Spanish arrived. It stood undisturbed for almost 500 years until it was excavated in the 1880s. It is estimated that it's population reached 10,000 people. A lot of its surroundings are now agricultural lands or cattle pastures but part of the jungle is protected and still stands.

9. Scuba Diving in Drake Bay

Costa Rica borders the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, and is a paradise for divers from around the world. This exceptional terrestrial diversity is also true underwater, where there are hundreds of species of vertebrates and invertebrates. These elements make Costa Rica one of the most beautiful destinations for a diving vacation.

The best diving locations in the Caribbean and the Atlantic ocean are the two assortments which Costa Rica boasts about. It is the perfect place for beginners to soak themselves up to see the sauna world. You can always get yourself a trained certified professional before making your first dive. The cocos island encompasses sharks, rays, dolphins and whale sharks, which is why it has catched the eyes of many.

Located 500 km from the coast of Costa Rica, it is only possible to access Cocos Island, the ancient island of pirates via diving boat. This territory includes some of the best diving sites in the world, with exceptional biodiversity and an impressive density of pelagic species, particularly sharks, rarely seen elsewhere. However, keep in mind that it is essential to plan your trip, so as not to miss the beauties of Cocos Island.

In fact, the climate is sometimes unpredictable and species vary seasonally. This paradise island is a protected nature reserve. It is possible to access it from Drake Bay, where there are numerous dive shops offering scuba trips for the day. Underwater, it is possible to find white-tip sharks, stingrays, turtles and hundreds of other fish species.

Hope the above mentioned activities sum up your bucket list of Costa Rica adventures. Yes, do not forget to try the jungle hotels while visiting the rainforests.
Kalyan Panja